Ingrid’s 60 years of softball
Ingrid Romaine was an enthusiastic member of North Village’s softball team but not a very good player.
After the Villagettes suffered a particularly devastating loss, coach Ambrose Lee pulled her aside and, somewhat tactfully, suggested she take up scorekeeping instead.
Ms Romaine recalled: “He said, ‘You do not know how to play softball.’ I had no hand-eye co-ordination and the ball was coming at me fast. I was always up for trying things. So I said yes.”
Buoyed by Mr Lee’s lessons, Ms Romaine is still at it nearly 60 years later. She is usually the scorekeeper for three of the four games Softball Bermuda holds each week from April through to July from 6pm to 10pm.
“It is your perception of what goes on on the field,” the 75-year-old said. “What you see is what you write. The umpire calls balls, strikes and outs, while the scorekeeper records hits, errors, outs and runs scored.”
Ms Romaine first makes a record on a special sheet and then transfers the information to an electronic scoreboard that all the players can see.
People sometimes get upset with her in much the same way that they do with the umpire.
“Sometimes they are saying I have the scores on the wrong side of the board,” she said.
What annoys her the most is when people complain that she is not putting the runs up fast enough.
“Would you rather have it on the board or on my paper where it will last for ever?” she asked. “They don’t understand that I have to get it on the paper first. People get impatient, especially if they think they have scored a whole pile of runs. Often they have not.”
When she started out scorekeeping, wire fence was the only thing that separated her from any stray balls flying around Bernard Park. A tiny house has since been built at the Michael Preece Softball Diamond, which gives her a lot more protection.
“If they hit the ball up in the air I had to look and make sure I was out of the way if it came over that fence,” she said.
The 1970s were an exciting time. Ms Romaine sometimes kept score for the Big Blue Machine, Bermuda’s national softball team.
In August 1973, not long after the softball diamond at Bernard Park opened, the team won the Caribbean Softball Tournament.
The title came with a 4-2 victory against Belize. To get to the finals they had to beat the Bahamas, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands, twice.
It was only the third year that Bermuda participated in the tournament and the first time a national team had played.
“I probably scored one of the games,” she said. “Softball was exciting back then. Everyone in Bermuda was into it. The men had a team and the women had a team.”
Although it was the height of softball’s popularity in Bermuda, Ms Romaine took a year off to study.
“Computers were just coming out,” she said. “Someone from ECPI University in Montreal came to Bermuda to give a lecture and I went to hear it.”
Inspired, she and a girlfriend went to Canada for the six-month course.
“I did well in the course,” she said. “I came back to Bermuda and got a job in the computer department at the Bank of Butterfield. I started out programming but I found it was not for me. I think I just really did not understand it.”
She moved to key punching, putting holes in cards to record account numbers and amounts from cheques.
“It was monotonous, but it was a job,” she said. “And I liked the people I worked with. That was what made it easy.”
After a few years she left and worked as an administrator in a number of companies including Bermuda Commercial Bank, Vaucrosson’s law firm and The Bank of Bermuda.
She retired in 2011, aged 64.
“I had a little job the year after I retired for about two years, working for Nibbles Wholesale Snacks,” she said. “The company belonged to a friend of ours and he was looking for someone to work in the warehouse. I was not doing anything else.”
When she is not at the ballpark, she enjoys reading.
She has no plans to retire from her role.
“I am going to do it for as long as I am able,” she said. “It is not stressful. All I have to do is lift the paper. Paper is not very heavy. It gives me something to look forward to. I make a commitment and I try to keep it.”
She has a daughter, Simone, and a granddaughter, Mari.
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